Is it safe to go to outdoor concerts and music festivals during Covid?

The outdoor music festival Lollapalooza has brought thousands of people to Grant Park in Chicago.

Photos of Lollapalooza from Wednesday to Sunday show a large group of unmasked concert attendees cheering in a crowd. The organizers have not announced official attendance, but it was expected that more than 100,000 people would attend the four-day festival each day.

Lollapalooza safety measures It was easy before the event. At the festival, participants were required to present a vaccination card indicating that they had been fully or partially vaccinated. Unvaccinated individuals had to wear a mask within 72 hours of attendance, showing evidence of a negative Covid test.

Chicago, Illinois-August 1: Audience performance by the Hoo Fighters on the final day of Lollapalooza at Grant Park on August 1, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Gary Miller / Film Magic)

Gary Miller | FilmMagic | Getty Images

But is it safe to attend a crowded outdoor concert at this stage of the pandemic, even if the safety protocol is in place? More transmissible delta variant Domination?

It’s too early to say if there is an outbreak from the Lallpalooza concert.

But we know from the data from Occurs in Provincetown, Massachusetts Fully vaccinated people can become infected with Covid and become infected, Dr. Jorge Parada, director of the infection control program at Loyola Medicine, told CNBC MakeIt.

“The more crowded the venue, the more likely it is to happen,” he says.

“At this point, it’s important for everyone to balance risk,” said Anna Burstein, an assistant professor at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, who specializes in infectious disease modeling.

Here are some safety precautions that experts should know about risk and should keep in mind if they plan to attend large outdoor concerts and rallies:

Requiring vaccination or a negative Covid test is not enough to ensure safety

In July Verknipt Outdoor Festival in the Netherlands Following the same rules as Lollapalooza (participants were required to present a QR code indicating complete vaccination, demonstrating that the Covid test or recent infection was negative), but final More than 1,000 people were positive after the event.

Mercedes Carneton, Vice-Chairman of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, called for these types of measures.Sanitary theater, “They look safe, but they do not guarantee that the risk will be mitigated. In reality, people can forge negative Covid tests or create counterfeit vaccination records (although Lollapalooza’s guidelines remind attendees: It is illegal to do so).

“When your security measures rely on personal honesty, it’s a little hard to count on,” says Carnethon. “I think most people try to do the right thing, but some don’t.”

Moreover, Vaccinated people can get infected and get infected Delta variant, but more rare. Breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals tend to be mild, but Covid can be spread to those who are not vaccinated or who are susceptible to serious illness from Covid.

If you are not eligible for vaccination or live with someone with immunodeficiency, consider skipping the event, says Bershteyn. “Nevertheless [a vaccinated person] You may not get sick, and you may be part of a transmission chain that can make someone else quite sick, “she says.

Travel increases your risk

Music festivals often attract people from outside the state and abroad.

Chicago was “quite successful” in vaccination rates, says Carnethon. In Cook County, where Chicago is located, 60% of the population is vaccinated with Covid. CDC.. “But invite people from all over the country to the city [the Lollapalooza] Festival, it’s mainly targeted Age group with the lowest chance of getting vaccinatedIt certainly poses some risks, “she says.

Travel increases the risk of Covid infection and infection. When you arrive at the music festival from outside the town, you may stay in a busy hotel or use public transport such as trains and shuttle buses to get in and out of the show, Carnethon. “These are all places where the virus is at risk of spreading,” she says.

If you have to go, here’s a safer way …

Vaccination is the most important thing you can do to be safe at an outdoor concert or rally, Parada says.

Second, the CDC does not require fully vaccinated people to wear masks in outdoor settings, given the crowded environment of the concert and the fact that many people scream and cheer. , Crowd, says Carnethon.

Wear a mask when you’re in a tight, confined space, says Carnethon. For example, she says she uses portable toilets, waits in line for drinks, and people stand next to you in a space that’s being pushed up very close.

“What we are learning about this particular variant is that the viral load is initially high, so the exposure time is short,” she says.

It may not create the experience of going to the most exciting concerts, but it’s safest to stand in the suburbs of a crowd that can maintain a social distance from others, Carnethon says.

… and what to do after that

Is it safe to go to outdoor concerts and music festivals during Covid?

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